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Old 22-01-2016, 09:49   #31
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

I mounted a Bullet Titanium Radio/Router on my radar mast with an A/P inside the boat so we can network everything. It's got an extra high-gain antenna on it too. I've been mostly using it to pick up our marina wifi (or the guest wifi when traveling).

Unfortunately, the days are gone when people would buy a router at Best Buy and leave it unprotected. There are very few unlocked A/Ps around anymore. I think only once during our 3 week cruise last summer was I able to pick up an unsecured A/P called "Cottage" while anchored off Fisher's Island in CT.

Here's the blog entry about this particular project
http://we-argon.blogspot.com/2015/06...r-project.html
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Old 22-01-2016, 10:44   #32
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Cafe or dockside bar foe emails and updates, I sail to get away from this stuff. You don't need to be connected 24/7. Try gradually reducing your dependence rather than going cold turky.
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Old 22-01-2016, 12:41   #33
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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Cafe or dockside bar foe emails and updates, I sail to get away from this stuff. You don't need to be connected 24/7. Try gradually reducing your dependence rather than going cold turky.
It depends on whats going on in your life. I am not retired, and very busy with my work, so must be connected 24/7. Others may have different circumstances, but those are mine, and I bet Im not the only one.
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Old 22-01-2016, 12:51   #34
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Cafe or dockside bar foe emails and updates, I sail to get away from this stuff. You don't need to be connected 24/7. Try gradually reducing your dependence rather than going cold turky.

Man I'm telling you, I am really looking forward to that day, that I don't know or care what day it is.
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Old 22-01-2016, 14:09   #35
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Dockhead's first post pretty much covers it. The Bullet Titanium is very waterproof and performs extremely well. Anything that has a coax between antenna and radio is going to have degraded performance because at that frequency it is attenuated quickly - attaching the antenna directly to the radio as the Bullet does is best.

Inside the boat I find the Ubiquiti airGateway is a great way to connect to the devices aboard. The small device plugs into the Bullet's power supply to provide an access point, and uses firmware that is nearly identical to the Bullet's so there is less of a learning curve. I also have a small switch for those devices that don't have wifi (particularly the network-attached-server box).

I recommend against USB wifi devices. I have installed them using amplified USB cables for remote exterior installation, and they do work. The greatest problem is the need to install a device driver appropriate to the chip used and OS variant on the computer - do not underestimate the potential headache here, particularly for non-Windows computers. Also, the wifi adapter is directly attached to one computer and is more difficult to share with other devices. Finally few USB wifi adapters are waterproof. In short a cheap solution: you get what you pay for.

Mikrotik routers are both very powerful and inexpensive. I installed one in the marina to manage the login accounts, and am very impressed. We bought one with POE (power over internet) built in, which was useful with the basic Bullet which did not come with a power supply/POE adapter (another reason to buy the Titanium model). However, as others have said, this is seriously difficult to program and is emphatically not for the faint of heart. Unless you are acting as an ISP don't even think about it. (I am talking about the routers, not their equivalent to the Bullet which I do not have experience with.)

If you buy the Bullet Ti, airGateway, and a small switch, you will have a powerful and flexible system which can be easily expanded with ethernet cable or wifi for storage, printers, TV's, and other computers, tablets, and phones.

Greg
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Old 22-01-2016, 14:39   #36
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
Dockhead's first post pretty much covers it. The Bullet Titanium is very waterproof and performs extremely well. Anything that has a coax between antenna and radio is going to have degraded performance because at that frequency it is attenuated quickly - attaching the antenna directly to the radio as the Bullet does is best.

Inside the boat I find the Ubiquiti airGateway is a great way to connect to the devices aboard. The small device plugs into the Bullet's power supply to provide an access point, and uses firmware that is nearly identical to the Bullet's so there is less of a learning curve. I also have a small switch for those devices that don't have wifi (particularly the network-attached-server box).

I recommend against USB wifi devices. I have installed them using amplified USB cables for remote exterior installation, and they do work. The greatest problem is the need to install a device driver appropriate to the chip used and OS variant on the computer - do not underestimate the potential headache here, particularly for non-Windows computers. Also, the wifi adapter is directly attached to one computer and is more difficult to share with other devices. Finally few USB wifi adapters are waterproof. In short a cheap solution: you get what you pay for.

Mikrotik routers are both very powerful and inexpensive. I installed one in the marina to manage the login accounts, and am very impressed. We bought one with POE (power over internet) built in, which was useful with the basic Bullet which did not come with a power supply/POE adapter (another reason to buy the Titanium model). However, as others have said, this is seriously difficult to program and is emphatically not for the faint of heart. Unless you are acting as an ISP don't even think about it. (I am talking about the routers, not their equivalent to the Bullet which I do not have experience with.)

If you buy the Bullet Ti, airGateway, and a small switch, you will have a powerful and flexible system which can be easily expanded with ethernet cable or wifi for storage, printers, TV's, and other computers, tablets, and phones.

Greg
What do you think about plugging the Bullet into an LTE router, like the Huawei B593, or into a GoFree router?

I am struggling to figure out how to integrate these three systems, and tips would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: So here's how I think it could work:

I think I could connect Bullet, B593, and GoFree together by Ethernet. In fact, I think I could delete the GoFree and plug the B&G Ethernet directly into the B593.

I think by default the data stream from the boat network, and Internet access via both B593 and Bullet, would all be available on the network to any user connected through the B593.

Furthermore, I think I can plug my WD 2 terabyte hard drive into the USB3.0 port in the B593, with 400 movies and millions of hours of music on it, and have a media server accessible by any device on the network.

Is this all correct?
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Old 22-01-2016, 16:05   #37
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

For the small network on the boat the Bullet can serve as the router. If you add a cell modem to the LAN then the Bullet would have to be reprogrammed (each change) to use the modem's address as the internet gateway instead of the wireless LAN (WLAN) that the Bullet would connect to. Devices that will always reside on the LAN, such as printers and storage devices, can be assigned fixed addresses but you will want to use DHCP to assign addresses to visiting computers, tablets, or phones. DHCP will provide the gateway address to them, so changing that will point them to the right place.

You could also use another device on the LAN as the router, and not use the Bullet as the router, but you can't have two routers assigning addresses (DHCP) in your LAN. Since you won't be using both a wifi client and a cell modem to access the internet at the same time you could just leave the Bullet set up as a router, set up the cell modem as a router with itself as the gateway, and then never have both turned on at the same time. It would be simple but prone to mistakes - I would use a switch that provided power to one or the other but not both if I were to go that way - but I wouldn't go that way.

It seems to me that the ideal solution would automatically select between available gateways. IIRC some of the cell modem solutions do have allowance for a wifi client, and so must provide some way of selecting between cell and wifi for the gateway. Such a solution would be the easiest. Otherwise I would consider a small Mikrotik router for the system and connect the various gateways to it, in addition to the LAN switch. I don't know what capabilities it has to detect and select available gateways - and I am in no hurry to delve into programming it again - but that is the likeliest effective DIY approach.

Admittedly this is pretty general; and I am not a networking pro. I am just recommending that you look at the problem around the questions 1) where will my LAN router be (multiple devices may have the capability), 2) how will the gateways connect to the LAN (integrated with the router, directly to the router, or through the LAN switch), and 3) how will the router switch between available gateways (or even know to switch).

I hope this helps - but I have my doubts :-)

Greg
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Old 22-01-2016, 16:30   #38
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

I am really happy with a Verizon jet pac. its a rubberized hockey puck, need no antenna. has its own cell phone number
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Old 22-01-2016, 19:37   #39
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
In port at a private dock I use Exede satellite (Wild Blue). I get 15gb for $89/month. No usage charge between midnite and 5am local. Additional gbs are $10. On coastal water I use Verzion 4g for coastal waters within 25 miles of a tower (depends on tower height-ocean conditions). I haven't used it in about a year and don't know the current price, but saw an ad for about the same price/gbs as the satellite.
I used it from Oregon to Alaska via Canadian inland passage. No coverage in remote areas. Extra fee for Canada coverage. I have a Canadian cell phone I use when transiting. Most commercial fishing ports have free WIFI.
Commercial ship broadband with high usage is $10 or more grand a month.
25 miles? WOW, that's the horizon. I want your antenna. I have ATT and am thankful and happy at 12 miles, usually a little less. Could be my phone, it's a galaxy 3.
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Old 23-01-2016, 03:01   #40
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
For the small network on the boat the Bullet can serve as the router. If you add a cell modem to the LAN then the Bullet would have to be reprogrammed (each change) to use the modem's address as the internet gateway instead of the wireless LAN (WLAN) that the Bullet would connect to. Devices that will always reside on the LAN, such as printers and storage devices, can be assigned fixed addresses but you will want to use DHCP to assign addresses to visiting computers, tablets, or phones. DHCP will provide the gateway address to them, so changing that will point them to the right place.

You could also use another device on the LAN as the router, and not use the Bullet as the router, but you can't have two routers assigning addresses (DHCP) in your LAN. Since you won't be using both a wifi client and a cell modem to access the internet at the same time you could just leave the Bullet set up as a router, set up the cell modem as a router with itself as the gateway, and then never have both turned on at the same time. It would be simple but prone to mistakes - I would use a switch that provided power to one or the other but not both if I were to go that way - but I wouldn't go that way.

It seems to me that the ideal solution would automatically select between available gateways. IIRC some of the cell modem solutions do have allowance for a wifi client, and so must provide some way of selecting between cell and wifi for the gateway. Such a solution would be the easiest. Otherwise I would consider a small Mikrotik router for the system and connect the various gateways to it, in addition to the LAN switch. I don't know what capabilities it has to detect and select available gateways - and I am in no hurry to delve into programming it again - but that is the likeliest effective DIY approach.

Admittedly this is pretty general; and I am not a networking pro. I am just recommending that you look at the problem around the questions 1) where will my LAN router be (multiple devices may have the capability), 2) how will the gateways connect to the LAN (integrated with the router, directly to the router, or through the LAN switch), and 3) how will the router switch between available gateways (or even know to switch).

I hope this helps - but I have my doubts :-)

Greg
The fact that it did not solve the problem in one stroke, does not mean that it was not helpful

I used to have one of my IT guys on board as crew, and at one point got him to design a network like this, but it was pre-GoFree and for rather different equipment (a very early 3G mobile phone data router). He had the mobile phone router serving as the boat router. Naturally we used DHCP. I don't think we switched between the devices; both could act as gateways simultaneously (IIRC).

This guy no longer works for me, but maybe I can find him somewhere. It might be time for professional help.

Or maybe someone else has actually done this?
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Old 23-01-2016, 06:54   #41
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The fact that it did not solve the problem in one stroke, does not mean that it was not helpful

I used to have one of my IT guys on board as crew, and at one point got him to design a network like this, but it was pre-GoFree and for rather different equipment (a very early 3G mobile phone data router). He had the mobile phone router serving as the boat router. Naturally we used DHCP. I don't think we switched between the devices; both could act as gateways simultaneously (IIRC).

This guy no longer works for me, but maybe I can find him somewhere. It might be time for professional help.

Or maybe someone else has actually done this?
There are two options for being really lazy and not have to do anything when switching between wifi and cellular. (Lazy is my preferred method!)

You can get a router with dual wan ethernet ports. The bullet will plug into one, and your cell data device will plug into the other port. This gives you automatic failover, and when you have both available, it will do load sharing. Meaning it will split some of the data between both, giving you more throughput. A quick search yields this.

http://us.dlink.com/products/busines...-wan-failover/

There are other routers that are designed to also use cellular data cards directly. I have been out of the IT world for about 10 years, but just as I was leaving, SonicWall (we mostly used there stuff) came out with a router designed for mobile kiosks. It had a standard Wan port, but also had a pcmcia slot for a a cellular data card for failover purposes. I'm sure there is something similar now. If you want to get a little more hands on, if you get a dd-wrt compatible router with a USB port, I believe it's possible to upload custom firmware that allows plugging in a USB cell data device.

Edit - there's tons of stuff to do this. Here's one for US Verizon 4g as an example...

http://www.netgear.com/home/products...#tab-techspecs

Here's a link to dd-wrt...

https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/3G_/_3.5G

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Old 23-01-2016, 07:01   #42
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

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Originally Posted by GoingWalkabout View Post
Here is a dual GSM and WiFi set up that works USA, Caribbean and EU.

The Wirie pro: Long Range Boat WiFi and RV WiFi with 3G/4G

To clarify a bit, The Wirie pro works worldwide on any GSM network, including the Pacific, Australia, NZ, and Asia.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Or maybe someone else has actually done this?
This is exactly what The Wirie pro does. It allows you to very easily switch between using 3/4G or Remote WiFi as the internet source, and you don't need to know anything about DHCP, switches, or routers to use it. We use a custom xG router and the Bullet Titanium to provide both internet source via a simple UI.

We do not offer any type of automatic internet source selection (“failover") however as it proves to be a very subjective issue. Assuming you would switch based on internet availability on one source or the other, "internet availability" means different things to different people. For some, email is internet, for others, not being able to stream Netflix means the internet is not working. We think that a manual selection is the best option.
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Old 23-01-2016, 07:49   #43
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

On the USA east coast, I have a Verizon hot spot. There coverage is about 99% of the coast. Only in central Florida have I ever had a problem and that was just for a ten mile stretch.

If a marina provides wireless service, I use that because it doesn't use my Verizon data. Usually I don't need any sort of external antenna or amplifier.
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Old 23-01-2016, 07:58   #44
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

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Originally Posted by cabinboybob View Post
........... Unfortunately, the days are gone when people would buy a router at Best Buy and leave it unprotected. There are very few unlocked A/Ps around anymore.
That's a good point and something I have noticed as well.
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Old 23-01-2016, 08:17   #45
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Re: What's your WiFi solution ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptNemoO2 View Post
There are two options for being really lazy and not have to do anything when switching between wifi and cellular. (Lazy is my preferred method!)

You can get a router with dual wan ethernet ports. The bullet will plug into one, and your cell data device will plug into the other port. This gives you automatic failover, and when you have both available, it will do load sharing. Meaning it will split some of the data between both, giving you more throughput. A quick search yields this.

Dual WAN 4-Port Gigabit Wireless VPN Router (DSR-500N) | D-Link

There are other routers that are designed to also use cellular data cards directly. I have been out of the IT world for about 10 years, but just as I was leaving, SonicWall (we mostly used there stuff) came out with a router designed for mobile kiosks. It had a standard Wan port, but also had a pcmcia slot for a a cellular data card for failover purposes. I'm sure there is something similar now. If you want to get a little more hands on, if you get a dd-wrt compatible router with a USB port, I believe it's possible to upload custom firmware that allows plugging in a USB cell data device.

Edit - there's tons of stuff to do this. Here's one for US Verizon 4g as an example...

MBR1515 | LTE Gateways | Mobile Broadband | Home | NETGEAR

Here's a link to dd-wrt...

https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/3G_/_3.5G

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Well, the Huawei B593 is a pretty heavy duty router in its own right. It has 4 Ethernet ports, USB for a remote hard drive, and even a built-in VOIP card with two phone ports.

I think I might be able to plug the Bullet directly into it via Ethernet and I think Internet access will then be available anywhere on the network.

I don't think I need to worry about switching between Bullet and mobile phone data, as they don't conflict with each other. I would just disconnect from the mobile network if I had a good WiFi connection and vice versa.

Anyone see any problem with this? Any nuances of setup?

The bigger problem (if all my assumptions are right) is boat network data. It would be nice to have this on the main network, since tablet computers can't connect to more than one WiFi network at a time (it is otherwise with my PC). I think the Navico system will work without the proprietary GoFree router -- meaning I could skip the GoFree module and plug directly into the Huawei router -- but I think there are some complexities in the setup, and I'm a little nervous about having the boat network merged with the Internet.
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